14th annual Polar Bear Plunge set for Jan. 1 at Matthews Beach

polar bear plunge posterStart off the New Year with a splash!

Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Meadowbrook Community Center Advisory Council are co-sponsoring the 14th annual Polar Bear Plunge at noon on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2016 at Matthews Beach, 9300 51st Ave. NE. Registration begins at 10 a.m., and the plunge starts at noon sharp.

A 2016 Commemorative Badge of Courage will be given to all heroic Polar Bear participants who immerse themselves neck-deep in the water. The patch will show the world that participants braved the frigid waters.

Warming refreshments will be served. While people wait for the plunge to kick off, there will be games, a photo booth, music and a t-shirt/sweatshirt vendor. [Read more…]

Pathway of Lights returns to Green Lake on Saturday, Dec. 12

Volunteers needed!

Seattle Parks and Recreation presents the Pathway of Lights at Green Lake on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., rain or shine.

Join thousands of families, friends and neighbors for this beloved Seattle tradition. Travel the 2.8-mile path around the lake, taking in the warm glow of the luminaria, music and refreshments. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own lights and candles to add to the ambiance.

Local musicians will perform at four sites around the lake:

  • The Green Lake Community Center on the east side
  • The Aqua Theater on the south side
  • The Bathhouse Theater (Seattle Public Theatre) on the north side
  • The Arch on the east of side of the community center/pool.

[Read more…]

Celebrate the season with Seattle Parks and Recreation

Holidays in Westlake Park, 2014, photo by TIA International Photography

Holidays in Westlake Park, 2014, photo by TIA International Photography

The holiday season seems to sneak up on us and then it’s over before we know it. There are so many activities and things to be done; it can be hard to keep track of them all. We’ve created a one-stop guide to all of our festive happenings. Find gingerbread decorating for the kids, take advantage of low-cost childcare options, discover where to buy local, unique presents and locate a drop-off spot for gift donations.

The holidays can be stressful when you’re going it alone. Luckily, you have us. [Read more…]

Pathway of Lights glows across generations

Luminaries line Green Lake

Luminaries line Green Lake

The city is dark. The air is cold. But Green Lake Park is aglow.pathway of lights 2015

Since the 1980s, on the second Saturday of December, neighbors, families and tourists have celebrated the Pathway of Lights.

The idea was brought to Green Lake Community Center by a woman who was inspired after seeing a similar event on a trip to the southwestern U.S. The named was coined through a community contest.

In its inaugural year, luminaries encircled only the community center and the event was marked with horse-drawn hayrides. Throughout the years the event continued to expand. While guests used to light the luminaries by passing candles to one other, large community groups are now needed to help with set up. Local performers and artists are stationed around the lake to entertain walkers. [Read more…]

Give thanks with Seattle Parks and Recreation

Thanksgiving is coming. Leave the cooking to us.

Thanksgiving is coming. Leave the cooking to us.

November is upon us, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’re reflecting on all of the things we’re thankful for this year.

  1. We work in a diverse city with lush forests, sandy beaches, endless hiking trails, swimming holes, recreational opportunities and vibrant communities.
  2. We were able to fund new programs for special populations this year. Using 2015 ramp-up funding for the Seattle Park District, we were able to expand dementia-friendly recreation programming and add an extra week of Specialized Programs summer camp to our offerings. We hope to continue expanding programs for underserved communities.
  3. The National Wildlife Federation named Seattle the sixth friendliest city for wildlife in the country.
  4. Volunteers donated nearly 13,000 hours of their time to Seattle parks in April during Earth Month work parties. These volunteers and the community members they inspire represent the current and future generation of environmental leaders, and we’re so thankful for all they do.
  5. We welcomed Jesús Aguirre as our new superintendent.

[Read more…]

U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree makes special appearance in Lake Union Park on Nov. 7

For more than 50 years, a tree has graced the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the holiday season. The Chugach National Forest, in partnership with nonprofit Choose Outdoors, will bring this special tree from Alaska to Washington, D.C. for the 2015 season, involving more than 10 communities along the way, including an appearance at Seattle’s Lake Union Park near the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) on Saturday, Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. – noon.

The tree will be cut on Oct. 27 near Seward, Alaska and prepared for the 4,000-mile expedition. With great fanfare, the tree will leave the Chugach National Forest followed by a caravan of caretakers for the journey to the U.S. Capitol. Fifteen community celebrations are being planned throughout the tour, culminating with the official tree lighting in early December. [Read more…]

Imagination Foundation presents ‘2015 Cardboard Challenge’ at Bell Street Park

Kids participate in a 'Cardboard Challenge'

Kids participate in a ‘Cardboard Challenge’

When you’re little, a refrigerator box isn’t just packing material; it’s a castle, cave or new car. From noon-9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10, the Imagination Foundation is sponsoring the 2015 Cardboard Challenge featuring the movie “Boxtrolls” at Bell Street Park. Children are invited to create cardboard creations and take part in other activities from noon-6 p.m. The outdoor movie starts at 6:30 p.m.

Seattle’s Cardboard Challenge is about encouraging the people of all ages to come together and foster creativity in children. Children are encouraged to build things from their imagination, to be doers, to explore interests and passions, to learn how to be resourceful and persevere and to see every day recyclable objects in new ways.  [Read more…]

Your Fall Bucket List

Cheers with us
Raise a glass to conservation and animals! Join Woodland Park Zoo for the fifth annual Brew and the Zoo beer-tasting event on Thursday, Oct. 1. Sample imports, domestics, microbrews and ciders from more than 40 different breweries. The event includes tastings, live animal encounters, music and access to some award-winning exhibits. Tickets range from $30-70. For more information, go here. (This event is for the 21+ crowd only.)

Maple Viewing at the Seattle Japanese Garden

Maple Viewing at the Seattle Japanese Garden

Marvel with us
In October the Seattle Japanese Garden is ablaze with fall color. Visit on Sunday, Oct. 11, during the official Maple Viewing Festival, or take a tour any time this fall to feast your eyes on reds, oranges and golds. The Maple Viewing Festival includes traditional musical performances and other activities and runs from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Send us your best fall-esque photos on Twitter and we’ll throw you a retweet. For more information, including garden hours and location, go here. [Read more…]

Seniors admitted free to Seattle Japanese Garden on Respect for Elders Day

Seattle Japanese Garden

Seattle Japanese Garden will offer free admission to seniors on Sept. 14, 2015.

The Seattle Japanese Garden will celebrate Respect for Elders Day on Monday, Sept.14, 2015. In honor of this Japanese holiday, seniors age 65 and older will receive free admission to the garden from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Complimentary guided tours will be available starting at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2 p.m. on that day. All visitors are welcome to stop by the Tateuchi Community Room to enjoy complimentary iced tea, as well as an art exhibit of beautiful line drawings depicting scenes from the Japanese Garden by artist Vincent Samudovsky.

The Seattle Japanese Garden is located at 1075 Lake Washington Blvd. E. For driving directions and detailed information about the garden, please visit www.seattlejapanesegarden.org.